The composition of the latest wonder drug Amalingera is a tightly kept secret, but industry insiders say it's a carefully-proportioned combination of sugar and food colouring, marketed in a packet covered in impressive-looking medical jargon.
“In test after test, up to 30 percent of subjects are found to react as well to the placebo as the real thing”, says Bill Zine, CEO of manufacturer Landisee Pharmaceuticals. “Not tapping into this market is practically a crime against our shareholders.”
It is not known exactly what proportion of the population are hypochondriacs, but one medical researcher believes up to 70 percent of Daily Mail readers could be sufferers.
Mr Zine admits that another part of the market for this drug is people who need a sick note for work but don't want to be prescribed any genuine medication. “When you're heading off to a ski resort on your medical leave, the last thing you want is for your holiday to be marred by nasty side-effects”.